Vergil's Role Of Women In The Aeneid

1278 Words 6 Pages
Within The Aeneid, Vergil, as the author, placed an undisputable, misogynistic point of view upon the female characters of the epic poem. His sexist perspective, coming from the ancient Roman society’s values and view on women, is hinted at in his description and depiction of the women, having them supposedly “serve” as troublemakers and/or suitors and potential lovers. From a modern, feminist perspective, Vergil’s misogyny only made the female characters appear stronger and against the norm of Roman societal views on women. Women have pivotal parts within The Aeneid and have some of the most power positions in the story, despite Vergil depicting the women as weak and underneath the men. Vergil attempts to assign women a negative connotation …show more content…
The women may not be main characters, but have important roles in Aeneas’s journey, including holding positions of power and controlling plot points vital to Aeneas’s progression as the hero. Though The Aeneid may glorify men and negatively portray women, underneath the text lies strong women. For example, women of power, especially Dido, play an important part in Aeneas’s journey and they are not just background characters but the key to character and story development. Even with Vergil’s male-glorifying ancient Roman perspective on women and their gender roles on The Aeneid, the epic poem is able to portray women better than they have been represented in Roman …show more content…
She had a great presence in the first half of The Aeneid. Aside from being Aeneas’s lover and an omen, she was also the ruler of Carthage whose story contains more strength than what Vergil (through Venus) gave her. The way that Vergil words his story shows the negative Roman societal outlook on the women and positive outlook on the men; however, Dido had more strength than Vergil wrote in for her. In Venus’s recount of Dido’s past, Vergil worded the passage of the poem to reflect that men had (and have had) all the power in Dido’s life (1.48-510). Vergil wrote that her husband’s ghost was what prompted her to leave, as “he [urged] her to speed her flight, to leaver her homeland” (1.506-507) and was the sole benefactor in helping her leave as “he [disclosed] ancient treasure in the earth...known to none” (1.507-509). Because Dido was “moved by this” (1.510), Vergil implied that the men forged her path for her and made her decisions. In addition, Vergil hoped to add legitimacy to his claims by using a goddess’s voice in order to help others believe that these claims and this perception of Dido is the one and only truth. Through this tactic, Vergil reduced Dido to the “unhappy” (1.488) helpless wife, as

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